19 Jul Not In My Job Description
When you’ve been around a lot of death, or near it like I once was, you look at life differently.
Between almost dying at age 13 because of Crohn’s Disease, to having my dad die before my eyes when I was 19, I do believe that death puts things into perspective.
I grew up in a family that always pushed me to be my best; to always try my hardest (you got a B? Why not an A+?), to help others whenever possible (it’s a cultural thing, too, to be fair), and to always learn from my mistakes (or to not make them).
Pairing the need to be my best self with the understanding that life can disappear in an instant, I’ve internalized the cliché “live every day like it’s your last,” mantra.
Sure, tonight I am literally writing this blog post in sweats after mowing down on some takeout Thai food (vegan and gluten free, I might add) after a long day of running my digital agency, but I’m happy. I lived today doing my best and enjoying the moments in it, even if it wasn’t an overly exciting day.
Not every moment needs to be exciting, but every moment should be a moment that’s worth the time you’ve spent in it. As of today, I’ve lived for a total of 10,913 days (There’s a calculator for it, it’s CREEPY) and I can honestly say that – discounting the 2 years I spent extremely sick and in the hospital – I’m proud of how I’ve spent them.
Can you say that?
Maybe it’s because I’m now an adult with adult responsibilities and looking through the lens of an adult mind (“get off my lawn, kids!!!!) but I’ve noticed an increasingly apparent sense of apathy in the world. No one seems to care about how they spend their days, their minds, or their skills.
To put it simply: no one gives a flying fuck, anymore.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and asked the server to make sure there was no corn in your salad, and then your meal arrived with corn in your salad?
How about when you bought something that required delivery with a signature at the door, so you stayed home from work to be there, and then find a “sorry we missed you!” sticky on the door that the delivery man definitely did not knock?
Or what about when you call your mobile company to get a roaming package applied for your out-of-area trip so you can use your data, only to find a gigantic bill on your return because the person on the phone didn’t apply the package to your account properly?
There’s no way that I am the unluckiest person in the world. In fact, I would bet my life on the fact that each and every one of you have recently had to deal with something so mundane, so easy, so trivial, being done so wrong, when it could have easily been done right.
Why doesn’t anyone care?!
As mentioned above, I run a company. As of Monday, I will have 11 employees (ahhh it’s insane, I know.) I’ve run my company for almost 4 years and I’ve always had the same rule when hiring a new employee: They have to appreciate themselves and their existing set of skills, but they also have to want to learn and grow to be the best that they can be. I’m so lucky to say that my team is full of people like this who literally kick ass. They are awesome 🙌
A few recent additions not pictured!
Also, yes, that’s us eating Thai food 🙈
I constantly talk to my team about how we need to do work that we’re proud of because it’s a reflection of who we are as a whole and as individuals.
I want my employees to look at their work and want to go to their parents, their friends, their significant others, or a random stranger on the street and say, “Hey look, I did that!”
It’s not just about being proud of the work that’s produced, but it’s also about finding purpose in your life. I’ve had team members who went on to other things because what my company was offering didn’t help them get there and that’s totally fine. I never want someone to work for me if they don’t think it’s an opportunity to better themselves. You do you!
It’s also not about perfection. No one is perfect, no one can be perfect, and mistakes happen. It’s about trying your hardest and learning from the mistakes you made.
But what it is about is trying.
Not enough people bother to try these days, and for the life of me, I don’t understand why.
I recently had a team member (that is no longer a team member) who started using the phrase “not in my job description.” I won’t go into the details of what this team member was doing (well, not doing), because I don’t feel it appropriate, but I will be very clear that the work was very much adjacent to the literal words written in the job description. There was no technical skill required, there was no formal training required. What was required was wanting to give a shit about the work, the team, and doing something with your life.
If you are going to look your boss in the eyes and tell them that you don’t want to be the best you can be at what you’re doing every day, then why the fuck are you here? Go somewhere where you’re going to want to be your best self and enjoy every moment that you are alive! I made sure that my team knew that this phrase is never to be used again because it has no place in my life.
Obviously not everyone can live their dream job, I get that – my dream job is to be a famous actress and I don’t see that happening any time soon – but I sure as hell enjoy waking up every day and getting my job done. Sure there’s stress, and there are challenges, and there’s always going to be days where things are going to be hard – personal growth is not meant to be easy – but if you’re going to sit there and complain about it, I don’t want to hear it.
Before my dad died, I was driving him to the hospital for one of his treatments – before things went really down hill for him and we all still expected him to come out the other side – and he just looked excited. Like, I had never seen him so excited and it was weird because, you know, we were going to the hospital.
Before I even had a second to ask him just why he was so excited, he told me that he was offered a new job that would start after he recovered. My dad had been running his own business for years and, honestly, he had gotten pretty lazy about it. You could tell that the motivation was gone and he wasn’t living his life to his potential. This new job was something he couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into. It was really science-y, required a ton of brain power, and it was something he was never formally trained to do (he never finished university), but this company saw his potential and wanted to bring him on board. This was his dream job, he told me. He just had to get better to do it.
To know that my dad died before he could do what he’s always wanted to do in his life is something I can’t describe.
Watching him wither away into a hospital bed because the chemo had destroyed his organs before he was able to say “I did that!” is my motivation.
It’s the reason I make sure that I foster a team of people who also want to be their best and who are living their lives in a way that makes them happy. It’s the reason I work so hard to accomplish as much as I can, however I can. It’s the reason I care.
While I am still in remission from my Crohn’s Disease (knock on woooood, forever), I never know when that could suddenly be over and I lose the physical ability to accomplish anything. I sure as hell didn’t do anything while I was laying, dying in the hospital for 2 years, so I better use my healthy time wisely.
Maybe I think about this more than the average person, but none of us know when our current capabilities could suddenly disappear. So I’m reminding you – do what you can now!
It’s funny, because we found out that my dad was sick because of a doctor who went beyond his job description. My dad’s disease started with stomach pain, so he went to my GI doctor. After my doc realized it wasn’t a GI related problem, he went out of his way to make sure my dad saw a specialist for the problem that he thought my dad actually had. Even though my dad didn’t survive, this doctor helped my dad get a chance at life, all because he took a few extra moments outside of his job description to think, care, and take action.
There are a lot of things going on in the world these days and it’s hard to stay positive. Too many murders, too much racism, and too much arguing about the literal dumbest shit on the internet – how can anyone remain positive?
The trick is to give a fuck.
Focus on you. Your personal growth. Trying to be your best. Doing what you can/need to do to get there. Deal with some shit along the way (there’s always something), but do it because you care about living.